The Nodaway County Commission unanimously approved its 2013 budget last week, green-lighting $7.3 million in proposed spending for general operations.
That's $300,000 less than last year's operating budget, with the road and bridge fund accounting for most of the difference.
Last year Nodaway County replaced two bridges using funds appropriated through the federal Bridge Replacement Off-System Program. South District Commissioner Robert Stiens said the county will receive fewer BRO dollars in 2013, and that only one such bridge is planned for construction.
Projected spending in each of the counties major budget sections breaks down as follows: general revenue, $3.7 million; road and bridge, $2.5 million; assessor, $410,000; 911 service, $151,000; and Administration Center maintenance, operations and debt service, $518,000.
A sound revenue outlook means the commission has been able to reduce the property tax levy supporting operations and debt service for the Administration Center from 16 cents to 14 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for the second consecutive year.
County Clerk Beth Walker, who presented a brief budget summary to the three-member commission, said a lot of that modestly rosy financial picture has to do with increased sales tax revenues. She noted that sales tax income for the county rose from $2 million in 2010 to more than $2.2 million in 2012.
"While many counties in the state are struggling with lower revenues and higher expenses, Nodaway is very fortunate," Walker said.
Income from gasoline and vehicle sales taxes has also continued to rise. According to Walker's summary, gas and vehicle revenues for 2012 totaled $1.05 million, an increase of $24,000 compared to 2010. The funds are earmarked for use by the Road and Bridge Department.
Walker pointed out that, unlike many Missouri counties, Nodaway in 2006 gained voter approval for a use tax paid in lieu of sales taxes on various goods purchased either out of state or online.
At that time, she said, internet sales were the main issue. Last year, however, Gov. Jay Nixon blocked Missouri cities and counties from levying sales tax charges on vehicle purchases made in other states.
That left many communities in the lurch at a time when voters have proven almost universally opposed to tax increases of any kind.
One wrinkle in an otherwise smooth fiscal outlook for the county is shrinking revenue from a small tax on land-based telephone lines as more and more county residents go wireless.
The land-line tax supports local 911 emergency communications, and Walker said the county will continue to lobby state lawmakers to implement a similar levy on cell phone use.
On the capital improvements front, the commissioners have set aside $100,000 as initial funding for replacement of the slate-shingled courthouse roof, a project that is expected to extend over the next three years and cost at least twice as much as is currently allocated.
Funds were also allocated for completing a large, unfinished meeting room in the basement of the Administration Center. Plans call for a lowered ceiling, drywall and flooring.
Page 2 of 2 - Commissioners said the room currently has no dedicated purpose, but could eventually house a combined 911 response center providing dispatch service for the Sheriff's Department, Maryville Department of Public Safety and the Northwest Missouri State University Police Department.
As usual, the county allocated relatively small amounts of money for the support of several area agencies, organizations and charitable groups. These include the Extension Council, county/city emergency manager, Missouri Department of Conservation, Nodaway County Economic Development, the New Nodaway Humane Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation, the Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments, the Greater Maryville Chamber of Commerce and local child and family services agencies.